John C Bryant Funeral Home
56 Pemberton Road
Wayland, MA 01778
(508) 653-4220
Celebration of Life
Saturday, Apr. 27, 2019
2:00 PM
First Parish Unitarian Church
Weston, MA
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HESTNES, Harold Harold Hestnes, Influential Advisor to Business and Political Leaders Lawyer and civic leader, died January 19, 2019, at age 82, in Lincoln, MA, with his family by his side. He was born in Oslo, Norway, the son of Harald, secretary to the prime minister of Norway, and Adelheid (Dahl) Hestnes, an opera singer. Mr. Hestnes and his parents emigrated to Massachusetts in 1940, shortly before the Nazi invasion of Norway, and eventually settled in Wrentham. A Harvard College graduate, who earned his law degree from Boston College Law School in 1961—as well as a Masters in Law from Harvard Law School and a Masters in Public Administration from what is now Harvard's Kennedy School of Government—he came into his own in a time before the legal profession turned to specialization. Mr. Hestnes began his career in 1961, as counsel to Massachusetts Governor John A. Volpe, after which he joined the Boston-based law firm, Hale and Dorr (now WilmerHale) in 1963. There, he developed a general litigation practice with an emphasis on public law issues, particularly antitrust and regulatory matters affecting the oil, gas, and electric power industries. Mr. Hestnes will perhaps be best remembered for his influence in public administration, where he played a decisive behind-the-scenes role in many significant public policy issues to arise in Massachusetts and Boston over four decades. He was a two-time chairman of the "Vault"—also known as the Boston Coordinating Committee—a private committee of Boston's top business executives that drove fiscal and policy issues in the city. Mr. Hestnes also served as chairman of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, director and secretary of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, and chairman of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. His ethic of service was deeply felt in Weston, where he had lived since 1964, and served on the Weston Board of Selectmen for sixteen years, including nine years as chairman. He also served on the boards of MassINC, the Supreme Judicial Court Historical Society and CareGroup, the corporate parent of a group of local hospitals,including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He was also an international council member at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. The National Law Journal named Mr. Hestnes to its list of the 100 most influential lawyers in America in 1985 and 1991. Friends and colleagues remember Mr. Hestnes as witty, compassionate, energetic, and—above all—a consummate communicator. Always eager to help anyone who crossed his path, he was as generous with his time and advice to younger lawyers as he was with his commercial clients and the many high-level government officials, academic leaders, and nonprofit executives who sought him out. Mr. Hestnes's affinity for people was matched only by his list of avid interests, which included sailing, cars and his farms in Weston and Brownsville, VT. Surviving him are his wife of 59 years, Elizabeth Forssell Hestnes of Weston, MA and Brownsville, VT; daughter Judith of Portsmouth, RI; son Erik of New York, NY; sister Anne Marie Harris and husband Vern Harris of Taftsville, VT; brother-in-law Peter Forssell and wife Mary Forssell of Boston, MA and Block Island, RI; and many nieces and nephews. A Celebration of his life will be held at the First Parish Unitarian Church in Weston, on Saturday, April 27, at 2:00 p.m. Donations in his memory can be made to , 75 Sylvan Street, B-102, Danvers, MA 01923. Arrangements entrusted to the care of the John C. Bryant Funeral Home of WAYLAND. For a complete obituary, visit johncbryanfuneralhome.com

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Published in The Boston Globe on Feb. 3, 2019
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